Zambian Economy Set to Grow with Mining

Zambian Mining Industry

Copper and cobalt are the main commodities produced in Zambia; however the country also produces zinc, lead, silver and gold. In the 5 years leading up to 2012, more than $8 billion was invested in the mining sector with strong growth expectations for copper and coal.

A 2012 KPMG report on Mining in Zambia provides background to the current state of the Zambian mining industry and an overview of the future of the sector.

The future of the Zambian copper industry

In 2012, Zambia was the world’s 8th largest copper producer with 675,000 tonnes and both copper and cobalt output continued to rise in 2013. The Zambian Copperbelt in the North-Western provinces contains the world’s highest-grade copper and cobalt deposits. Deposits in the region yield 2-3 percent compared to the world average of around 0.8 percent.

Over the five years to 2015, Zambia’s mining sector is expected to grow 7.5 percent with copper alone reaching an estimated 1.2 million tons.

Powering the country

Zambia is not currently a major coal producer but coal output is expected to grow significantly and the benefits of this could provide the mining industry with increased power supply.

Zambia’s electricity producer ZESCO has partnered with other firms to invest US $7.4 billion to more than double capacity in the next 6 years.

Infrastructure improvements to benefit mining

Zambia’s road infrastructure is generally preferred for the transportation of minerals, however as a result of an agreement between South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo; the ‘North-South Corridor’ is expected to improve on the capacity of rail to transport bulk minerals to the Port of Durban.

With improvements in transportation and power supply, Zambia’s mining sector is expected to grow 7.5 percent over the 5 years up to 2015, with copper alone reaching an estimated 1.2 million tons.

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